Lucky Pants

by Derek Featherstone

It doesn’t matter whether “pants” means “trousers” or “underwear” — I wear the same pants over and over and over again while I’m speaking. Yes, usually both my trousers and underwear. Why, you may ask? (okay, even if you didn’t ask, indulge me…)

Because I like the way they fit. Because I’m comfortable in them. And, I admit it — I’m a bit superstitious. A talk must have gone really well at some point, so I continue to try to recreate that magic for future speaking engagements.

I’ve given hundreds of talks at conferences in that very same style of trousers and underwear over and over again. To the point where it’s now just part of my routine. If you think I’m kidding, I’m not. I’ve even been called out for it on a speaker evaluation form once where I got feedback from an attendee saying “Derek needs to update his wardrobe — I think he wears the same thing every time I’ve seen him speak!

What do I do?

As I’m preparing to go off somewhere to speak, my clothes go off to the dry cleaners, returned in time for me to pack. The week before a conference, I arrange to get my haircut. I head to the conference. I catch some of the conference talks, but not all. I find time to myself to review my slides and notes. I make sure that I have my opening and closing for my talk ready. I get onto the stage, the lights go down, the microphone comes up, and things just happen.

Because I’ve taken the time to make sure that I’m in the zone, that I’ve gone through my routine, and that I’m well-prepared and that I feel like I’ve taken the time to control my environment. I feel right in my clothes, my hair is trimmed, and my talk is ready.

And I’m wearing my Lucky Pants.

What next?

What’s your routine? If you don’t have one, figure out what one might look like.

  • Do you prepare the same way every time?
  • Do you pack your briefcase with the same equipment, in the same order?
  • Do you even have a checklist of the things you need to bring with you?

What’s your equivalent of my Lucky Pants?

December 9th, 2012

3 Comments

3 Comments

I’ve done a few talks this year, some of which went really well and some of which I thought were just OK…

Over Christmas I’ve been reflecting on why some went well and come to the conclusion I feel most comfortable when I’ve got space around me.

In the ones that went well I could move around the stage, in the others I was squashed between a table or a podium and the back wall or screen.

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Derek Featherstone February 9, 2013

In the ones that went well I could move around the stage, in the others I was squashed between a table or a podium and the back wall or screen.

Oh, I feel that too. I’m a wanderer, though I’ve had to work hard to control myself, lest it become too distracting to the audience. What was it about being able to move freely that felt so good? (apart from the obvious, I suppose) Or, what was it about being confined that felt “wrong” to you?

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[...] other reason I love Seize the Room is that the information is relatable. In Lucky Pants, Derek talks about getting in the zone before a presentation by following a routine. For him, it [...]

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